We Really Needed This Pizza: Delivery Workers Report Higher Tips

(Bloomberg) -- Those consumers who are still eating restaurant food appear to appreciate the risks that workers are taking to deliver their hot wings and sesame chicken during the coronavirus pandemic.

Drivers for Grubhub Inc., Seamless and Domino’s Pizza Inc. have reported seeing a bump in gratuity from lockdown-abiding Americans. Domino’s franchisee Rob Scheiper says tips are up about 18% for his mask-wearing drivers in March and April versus before the stay-at-home orders were issued. Those using the Grubhub app or website for delivery are adding on an extra 15% for drivers, the Chicago-based company said.

“We’re currently seeing more tipping,” Grubhub spokeswoman Katie Norris said in an email, while noting it’s unclear how long the trend will last. “These are extraordinary and uncertain times, so it’s tough to predict whether these tip increases will last for the long-term.”

We Really Needed This Pizza: Delivery Workers Report Higher Tips

Scheiper said he’s looking at distributing his workers’ tips via debit cards so he doesn’t have jump between locations and round up the needed cash to cover the higher gratuity. Despite the pandemic, sales at his dozens of locations in South Carolina, Chicago and Los Angeles are only slightly negative, he said.

Most restaurants haven’t been so lucky, however, with much of the industry decimated by dining-room closures. Same-store sales, a key metric, fell 83% at casual-dining chains in the last week of March and 34% at fast-food restaurants, according to MillerPulse data.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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